Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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1883 History of
Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa


Ira WILLIAMS, a native of New York, came to Falls township in 1855, from Illinois. He settled on section 17, where he made a hay house and strewed hay upon the ground for a floor. In this abode he and his family lived for two years, when they built a log cabin, which at first was roofed with bark, but later by shakes. In 1859 he sold out and moved over into Lincoln. He served as a soldier in the last [Civil] war, and died in Lincoln township in 1877. His widow, now the wife of O. E. (sic, Emory Osgood) THOMPSON, still resides in that township.

A Winter Night's Experience

In the winter of 1856-7 two sons of Ira WILLIAMS, Reuben and David, aged twenty and fourteen years, respectively, went over to Horace GREEN'S, a neighbor, to water his cattle. They left home about 10 A.M., and owing to the extreme cold weather, they had to go up the stream in search of another place at which to water the stock. They finally succeeded in watering them, but while doing so a violent storm arose with such fury that they could not get the cattle to return, and in their attempt they themselves were lost, and compelled to remain out all night. After wandering some time they found a small grove, in which they took shelter, and kept on the move all night to keep from freezing to death. They finally thought the storm had abated sufficiently to admit of their venturing home, but they again soon lost their way, and were also unable to return to the clump of trees, around which they had tramped so many long hours as their only refuge.

David became exhausted and Reuben gave him his left hand, keeping his right one in his pocket, as he knew the one exposed would be frozen soon, and he took the precaution to save the right hand. In this manner they moved along not knowing whither they journeyed, keeping pace across the stormy prairies, until the bitter night had passed away, and the sun had made its cheerful appearance in the eastern horizon, when they found, to their utter astonishment, that they were near Mason City. They were overheard by two men, who were cutting wood and who came to their relief, taking them on into Mason City. Reuben could still walk, but David was completely exhausted.

David, very naturally, was the first to receive medical attention, and thus was saved from much suffering endured by Reuben, who lost his right foot, and half of the other, also a finger on his left hand. David lost a part of his right foot and two toes from the other foot.

The latter resided in Worth county in 1883, and Reuben was a resident of Minnesota.

SOURCE: History of Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa. Pp. 810, 893. Continental History Co. Springfield IL. 1883.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2011



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